At some point in our lives, we are likely to experience back pain — 80% of all adults do. Most of the time it is relatively minor but how do we know when it’s time to see a doctor? If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you should consult a spine specialist:
1. Has your low back pain extended down your leg?
If the pain persists and is severe, it is a sign that something is compressing a nerve running from your back to your leg.
2. Does your leg pain increase if you lift your knee to your chest or bend over?
If so, there is a good chance a disc is irritating a nerve.
3. Have you had severe back pain following a recent fall?
A fall may cause damage to your spine. Chances of injury increase if you have osteoporosis.
4. Have you had significant back pain lasting more than 3 weeks?
Often pain will go away with simple treatment. However, if your pain persists you should consult a spine doctor.
5. Have you had back pain that becomes worse when you rest, or wakes you up at night?
If this is accompanied by a fever, it may be a sign that there is an infection or other problem.
6. Do you have persistent bladder or bowel problems?
Bladder and bowel problems may be due to many causes, but some spine problems may cause these symptoms.
7. Do you get numbness or weakness in your legs while walking?
These problems can be caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal. This is called spinal stenosis.